After living in Iran for almost one month, I have started to observe lots of similarities between Iranians and Italians. Although our cultures differ in so many aspects, I could notice that there are so many similarities in the way we live our daily life.

The first thing I’ve noticed is that food is extremely important here. People are obsessed with it and it is the topic at the centre of every conversation. Iranians are very proud of their cuisine, just as much as Italians.

Like in Italy, family is also extremely important here. It plays a big role in people’s lives and some important decisions are still influenced by the family’s opinion. Families tend to be big here: if you happen to be invited by a local for a lunch or dinner with his/her family, expect to be welcomed by at least 10 people since here the concept of family includes the extended family.

Fridays in Iran, like Sundays in Europe, are the day of the week dedicated to family where everyone gathers together and spends time with each other. From very big lunches, to parties, picnics or short trips outside the cities, it doesn’t matter what you do on Friday, but you must do it with your family.

If you happen to wander around any city on a Friday afternoon, don’t be surprised if you find the streets empty and you are the only person walking around. Except for a few supermarkets and some ice cream shops, in Iran everything is closed all day on Friday and between 13:00 and 17:00/18:00 during the other days, exactly like in some places in Italy during the summer months. On weekdays after lunch, most people stay home and relax because the weather is too hot to do anything. When the temperature drops later in the afternoon, shops re-open and people fill up the streets.

Another big similarity between Iranians and Italians is that we share the same passion for coffee. I was very surprised to find excellent coffee in Iran and to see how going for a coffee is such a common thing to do here, like we do back home. The coffee culture is becoming a trend, with more and more coffee shops popping up and serving high quality coffee on par with the ones you find in Europe.

Along with coffee, another passion both cultures share is the one for Gelato or ice cream. Going for a gelato and an evening stroll is such a common thing for Italians to do in the summer: we tend to spend our evenings outside in public squares, chatting and savouring our gelatos. In Iran, people do exactly the same thing. Iranians do love their ice cream and you will soon see huge queues in front of shops selling it. Among their favourites is the saffron ice cream which is delicious and a must try while visiting the country.

Italians are famous all over the world for their excellent fashion taste. Iranians can easily compete with them in this aspect. Girls in particular are very fashionable in Iran. They put lots of effort, time and money in choosing what to wear: From colourful scarfs, to manteaus and tunics, Iranian women are stylish and proud of their appearance just as much as Italians.